In another thread, one user posted modest stats of Viv Richards against Pakistan and Australia, and claimed him to be over-rated. I have applied similar logic to Sachin Tendulkar's career. The results are quite damning. Do the stats of all great batsmen fall spectacularly (like Sachin's) against truly great fast bowlers?
<From that Post>
In Tests, Sachin averages a modest 36.77 against Australia when McGrath plays.
It is very noticeable that most of his Test runs/stellar performances against Australia have invariably come only when McGrath was absent, basically against second rate (good, but not great) fast bowlers like Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Kasper, Damien Fleming, Paul Riefel etc. Whenever McGrath is absent from the Australian attack, Sachin's average almost doubles (averages nearly 70 against Australia when McGrath is absent!!!).
Against other great fast bowlers whom he faced at the peak of their powers in Test Match cricket, Sachin averages a pathetic 32 against South Africa whenever Allan Donald has played.
I really don't know whether to include Wasim Akram here since India-Pak never played a series for nearly 10 years (between 1989 to 99 for political reasons) during which Akram was at his absolute peak. But Akram bowled very very well in 1999 when they played each other. In any case, Tendulkar averages an equally pathetic 32 against Pakistan whenever Wasim Akram has played.
Once again, he revelled against the respective teams (South Africa and Pakistan) when these bowlers were absent.
Against the 3 greatest fast bowlers of his era, whom he faced in more than one Test series, McGrath, Donald and Akram, Sachin has scored 1719 Test runs at a modest average of 34.3 (compared to his career average of 56).
Here is the clincher:
Of all the Test series Sachin has played against these great fast bowlers (McGrath,Donald,Akram), more than 7 series including home and away, only once did he average more than 50 in a series!, that too just barely, when he averaged 50.66 against McGrath in 2000-01 series at home in India. Even more stunning is the fact that only once was he India's best batsman in all the Test series against these bowlers (so much for him being the batting mainstay of India against great attacks). This is the very definition of being over-rated.
The only truly great fast bowler Sachin has had some success against is Curtly Ambrose. But Sachin never faced Ambrose (or the West Indian attack) at their peak. He played only one Test series against Ambrose, that too in 1997, on the dead pitches of the Carribbean (4 of the 5 Tests ended in draws). Ambrose was 35 years old and couple of years away from retirement back then.
Amazingly, the trend of Tendulkar's poor stats against great fast bowlers continues in ODIs. In spite of all the batsmen-favoured rules and pitches, Sachin's stats against these bowlers in ODIs are equally pathetic! A measly average of 31 (2222 runs @ 31.64) in ODIs after playing 70+ ODIs against McGrath/Donald/Akram. Only 2 of Sachin's ODI hundreds came against these bowlers (both against McGrath in the sub-continent). In 26 ODI innings against Donald, Sachin managed to cross fifty just 3 times!